Autonomous energy grids project envisions 'self-driving power system'

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A team at the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is working on autonomous energy grid (AEG) technology to ensure the electricity grid of the future can manage a growing base of intelligent energy devices, variable renewable energy, and advanced controls. "The future grid will be much more distributed too complex to control with today's techniques and technologies," said Benjamin Kroposki, director of NREL's Power Systems Engineering Center. "We need a path to get there--to reach the potential of all these new technologies integrating into the power system." The AEG effort envisions a self-driving power system - a very "aware" network of technologies and distributed controls that work together to efficiently match bi-directional energy supply to energy demand. This is a hard pivot from today's system, in which centralized control is used to manage one-way electricity flows to consumers along power lines that spoke out from central generators.